White House playing quiet on role in Leahy’s amendment decision

Jay Carney.jpg

White House press secretary Jay Carney declined to say what role the White House played in convincing Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy to withhold his immigration amendment for binational same-sex couples during last night’s committee hearing. 

Following a Tuesday Associated Press report that stated the White House had advised the Vermont Democrat to wait to propose his amendment until the immigration reform bill reaches the full Senate, Carney told reporters he was “not aware” of any such conversation.

“We are obviously engaged in conversations with the main players on this issue on a regular basis. And I don’t have the contents of all those conversations,” Carney said.

Leahy was successfully pressured by many members of his own party on the Senate Judiciary Committee to withdraw an amendment that would have provided protections for binational same-sex couples in immigration reform amid threats from Republicans to derail immigration reform if it were adopted.

Asked if he denied the AP report, Carney responded, “I’m not aware of that conversation.”

“What I can tell you is the president supports the amendment,” Carney continued. “The president also believes, as he made clear in Costa Rica, that we need to accept that we may not get everything we want. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to fight for the things that we believe in, and this president will.”

In a statement released after the committee voted 13-5 to move the immigration-reform bill for consideration by the full Senate, President Obama said in a statement, “None of the Committee members got everything they wanted, and neither did I.” According to Obama, he hopes the bill will be improved with further amendments on the Senate floor. 

Asked Wednesday what specific improvements the president would like to see to the bill, Carney named Leahy’s amendment for binational same-sex couples.

“I think he’s made clear that he supports that and would like to see Congress support that,” Carney said. “He’s also made clear that he doesn’t expect to get everything he wants in this bill. It doesn’t mean he won’t fight for everything he wants, but he understands that compromise means not getting every single thing that you want.”

[Image: Jay Carney (Screenshot via YouTube)]

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's political editor and White House correspondent. He can be reached at jsnow@metroweekly.com.

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